Federal medical authorities have linked some cases of listeriosis in California and 10 other states to prepackaged caramel-coated apples distributed by a processing plant in Bakersfield.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday announced that DNA patterns found in two strains of Listeria monocytogenes, a particularly virulent pathogen, isolated from samples collected at Bidart Bros. matched those associated with the outbreak.
The company has initiated a voluntary recall of all Bidart Bros. Granny Smith and Gala apples still available in the marketplace.
“The results are devastating to the Bidart family,” Leonard Bidart, president of Bidart Bros., said in a prepared statement. “As a family-owned grower operating in California since the 1930s, we place safety at the forefront of everything we do.”
Listeria involving caramel apples has been implicated in three deaths and more than two dozen hospitalizations.
Among the deaths is an 81-year-old California woman who bought caramel apples from a Safeway store in Felton, according to a lawsuit filed by her family. Shirlee Jean Frey died Dec. 2, the same day Bidart Bros. stopped shipping caramel apples.